In March, a white teacher at a private school in New York was accused of holding a mock slave auction for students.
What We Know:
- An investigation by the New York attorney general revealed the mock auction actually took place. The fifth-grade teacher, Rebecca Antinozzi had her white students bid on their black classmates. Not only did the investigation reveal the incident happened, but it also confirmed the experience negatively impacted students.
- The incident took place at the Chapel School, in Bronxville, New York, a private school in a predominantly white and affluent neighborhood. Antinozzi had black students leave the classroom and pretend to put imaginary chains on, according to New York’s PIX11 news. The students were then led back into the classroom where their white peers were encouraged to bid on them as Antinozzi acted as an auctioneer.
- A black parent made a complaint about the activity and said her son was humiliated by the simulation. “I’m getting teary-eyed about it because it’s like, how could somebody do this to my son,” the mother, Vernex Harding, told PIX11.
- After the complaint, the school started an investigation and called the mock auction “racially insensitive and hurtful,” in an email. Antinozzi has been fired from her position and her lawyer says that she plans to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James found that two different fifth grade classes participated in the exercise. Her investigation also found that the school ignored previous complaints about lack of staff diversity and unequal treatment of students of color. The school will now commit to reforms that include increasing staff diversity, hiring a diversity consultant, and revising the code of conduct to outline the ways the school will handle discrimination cases, according to NBC News.